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The Goddess Mut

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Many deities in the official Egyptian pantheon can be recognized by their headdresses. The Double Crown of the beneficent goddess Mut, whose name means “mother,” characterizes her as a conveyor of kingship and the divine mother of pharaoh. Amun, whose name means “hidden,” is portrayed as a man wearing a tall, plumed crown. When he appears with a solar disk at the base of the crown, he is known as Amun-Re, who possesses both hidden and solar creative powers. When shown in tightly enveloping garb and with an erection, he may be called Amun-Re-Kamutef, associated with fertility and regeneration. An amulet in this virile attitude would have held the promise of eternal rebirth after death. Monthly rebirth is also invoked by the full and crescent moons of Khonsu, the divine heir of Amun and Mut.

In popular religion the protection of pregnancy and birth was entrusted to such deities as Taweret and Bes. The appearance of Taweret, “The Great One,” as a pregnant hippopotamus with lion and crocodile features is a dramatic symbol of protective motherhood. The dwarf with a lion’s face and legs likely represents Bes, who was worshipped in the home as a protector of motherhood, birth, and rebirth.
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 664–525 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 3/8 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 in. (16.2 x 3.8 x 4.8 cm) mount (display dimensions): 11 1/2 x 2 1/8 x 3 1/8 in. (29.2 x 5.4 x 7.9 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Probably from Heliopolis, Egypt; prior to 1976, provenance not yet documented; by 1976, acquired by Nicolas Koutoulakis of Geneva, Switzerland; April 28, 1976, purchased from Nicolas Koutoulakis by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Green schist, matte polished surface in a good state of preservation. The goddess wears the double crown, a striated wig, a single uraeus, a tightly fitting sheath. Left hand holds an ankh sign. Back pillar is a truncated pyramid. Condition: Broken off diagonally from calf, below hem line, of left leg to the bottom of the skirt on the right leg. Nicks in right leg and in space between the legs of garment; chip missing from face at juncture of right eye, nose and cheek. Top of back pillar worn.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION The Goddess Mut, ca. 664–525 B.C.E. Schist, 6 3/8 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 in. (16.2 x 3.8 x 4.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 76.38. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 76.38_view1_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 76.38_view1_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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